Republicans adopt hard-line on immigration, gay rights
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[June 09, 2014]
By Marice Richter
FORT WORTH Texas (Reuters) - The already
conservative Texas Republican Party took a further turn to the right at
its convention this weekend by adopting hardline positions on issues
including immigration and gay rights. The conservative Tea Party branch
of the party, led by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and carrying great weight in
the state, was able to shoot down a 2012 party policy known as the
“Texas Solution" that would allow undocumented workers to hold jobs that
go unfilled by U.S citizens.
"Like never before, our freedom is under assault. Again today,
Texans will stand up and lead the fight to defend our freedom," Cruz
said. The policy adopted at the last party convention in 2012 was
seen as a pragmatic position to keep Republicans relevant as
demographic trends indicate that by 2030, Hispanics, who tend to
lean more toward the Democrats, will make up the majority of the
state's population. The latest platform calls for securing the
border with Mexico, offering no amnesty for anyone in the country
illegally and ending in-state college tuition for illegal
Republicans dominate politics in Texas, a state with a $1.4 trillion
yearly economy, and the party's candidates are the favorites in
elections later this year for the posts of governor, lieutenant
governor and attorney general.
But analysts say the party may start to suffer if it keeps pushing
hard-right policies as the demographic numbers shift, giving
Democrats a chance to gain ground in upcoming election cycles. The
Texas Republican Party, which says "homosexuality tears at the
fabric of society," also approved a policy of “reparative therapy”
for gays that seek to change sexual orientation through counseling.
The American Psychological Association has dismissed the idea that
sexual orientation is a mental disorder and said mental health
professionals should avoid telling clients that they can change
their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.
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Republicans banned two gay conservative groups from having exhibit
space during the convention and then used parliamentary procedures
to bypass debate on amendments to the policy on homosexuality.
The 2014 Republican platform of more about 260 policies also calls
for repealing the Voting Rights Act, supports open-carry of
firearms, supports the repeal of a minimum wage, backs a U.S.
withdraw from the United Nations, prohibits the sale of the morning
after pill and demands the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also
known as "Obamacare".
In a 2016 presidential straw poll of the 7,000 delegates, Cruz was
the crowd favorite, capturing 43.4 percent of the vote, more than 30
percentage points higher than any other possible candidate,
including current Texas Governor Rick Perry, who came in fourth with
(Editing by Jon Herskovitz, Bernard Orr)
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